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  1. #21
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christemo View Post
    Fuck yes more of this all of this
    Coming up next: TOUKO'S HOT DATE DINNERTIME CONFRONTATION featuring WALLS OF TEXT and CONVERSATIONS and CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE THEMSELVES WALLS OF TEXT
    Last edited by Dullahan; July 17th, 2015 at 09:25 AM.
    ちょう
    もく


  2. #22
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    Have I mentioned that I love you and please go out with me?

  3. #23
    I told 'em, I told 'em. Bugrit! eddyak's Avatar
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    oh bby
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    紅魔|吸血鬼 Frostyvale's Avatar
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    What a concentrated dose of geography, history, and classic literature.

    I feel a warm bubbly sensation finding references that I do understand, and simultaneously I feel like the text slaps me around for not being a better student of ancient masterworks.

    Dullahan, you've taken sociology and...transmuted it into a drug.

    I can never stop coming back.

  5. #25
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostyvale View Post
    What a concentrated dose of geography, history, and classic literature.

    I feel a warm bubbly sensation finding references that I do understand, and simultaneously I feel like the text slaps me around for not being a better student of ancient masterworks.

    Dullahan, you've taken sociology and...transmuted it into a drug.

    I can never stop coming back.
    Pretension breeds pretension...but in the end, it has to be this way. Touko's job in KnK is to be the smartest person in the room, so I could hardly write her any other way.
    ちょう
    もく


  6. #26
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Alternative Ice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    Coming up next: TOUKO'S HOT DATE
    That's definitely what I was thinking during their conversation.

  7. #27
    Don't @ me if your fanfic doesn't even have Shirou/Illya shipping k thnx ItsaRandomUsername's Avatar
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    Are all of your essays this fun to read, or do you just save the over the top overachieving for leisure writing as a means of cooling down? Either way, your train of thought entertains like nothing else.
    McJon01: We all know that the real reason Archer would lose to Rider is because the events of his own Holy Grail War left him with a particular weakness toward "older sister" types.
    My Fanfics. Read 'em. Or not.



  8. #28
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    Yeah uh if your dissertation looks anything like this send it my fucking way.

  9. #29
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christemo View Post
    Yeah uh if your dissertation looks anything like this send it my fucking way.
    Unlikely, but ok.

    I tells ya

    it's a weird fucking thing

    15k words seems insurmountable for a dissertation; a real sisyphus rock-n-roll thing

    and yet

    15k words is somehow my ideal amount for a single fanfic update

    prioritieeeees woo

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    Maybe you should write the dissertation so you never have to prioritize again :^)

  11. #31
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    I lied
    --------------------------------------------------------
    1/Snake and Scorpion

    Time passed in the gallery. Maybe a minute, maybe more. I didn't want to cohabit with those ghoulish little geisha statues for a moment longer, but I had an instinct for how long it'd take Freckles to leave the building, to leave the area, and no intention of running into her on the way out. So I stood there in the shade, my shadow an interruption in the thronging caustics on the wall. The A/C thundered at a distance, and more distant still the sounds of the city washed in from without, diffuse and irregular. Between the cracks in the white noise, only flickers of true silence fell through. Quivering like a candle's flame, silence in which to think.

    Oh, how I hated her. How much, how far.

    There is a clichι – I refuse to dignify it with the term 'aphorism', 'proverb' or even 'saying', for a clichι it is and nothing more, as trite and thought-terminating as they come – to the effect that hatred and love are similar in some obvious-sounding but perennially hard-to-articulate way. This is, of course, bullshit. It's laughable. Anyone who has ever truly hated someone can tell you that. It's a mental cache lookup; a baseless, banal claim indicative of not only an utter absence of critical reflection on the part of the maker but also a resolute unwillingness to rectify the situation.

    The difference is clear. Perfectly, perfectly clear.

    Love? Love is a child of language, love is a parent to language. Love is fevered dialogue. The inward experience of love is ceaseless, infinite elaboration – description – definition – in words before anything else. Love post-dates or perhaps co-dates the creation of language, and there is absolutely nothing primal or natural about it. Love is collocated with civilisation, to the degree that it is itself the making of a verbal or textual distinction from fuckery, which is the basic chemical-mechanical business of the act – everything does it; selfish genes won't pass themselves on – with no connection to things civil. So it goes, so it went. How many lines, since line-making became a passable pastime, has this fine species of ours filled with its manifold ruminations on the concept? Billions, surely. One for all of us, and then some. Every language under the sun, living and dead. Every stylus, pen or charcoal. Every song on the radio, every novel at the airport book-stand. Even the notional indescribability of some loves can, like anything else, be described, and described endlessly at that, in that ever-so-twee I know not the words, my love, to convey (insert sixty-three pages of pure sonnet) style. Rumi made – and judging by the airport bookstands, is yet making – a career out of it. The extremity of love is in the production of chapter and verse. As love tends to infinity, so too does word-count. And though their prose may turn fustian and inevitably to drivel, lovers never run out of things to say. If they did, they'd be lovers no more.

    Hatred is exactly the opposite. Hatred has no time for language, hatred is where language fails. Language could never apprehend it, because hatred was there before language came about. Notice how all the greatest and heaviest expletives we have remaining are the shortest and most basic – all the usual bodily functions, common to all humanity. Linguistics at its barest; you can practically see the sealing-wax and string lashing those signifiers to their referents. To depart from there is to lose something. Some locales, I'm told, have an art or penchant for florid insults. This you can very well do, but not without their acquiring a detectably affected quality. They can be amusing, but they're hollow. Linguistic mentation at whatever speed destroys the suchness of a simple 'fuck you'. Hatred is artless and pure by nature; there never was a true hate-song sung, nor hate-poem written. The moment language touched them, the moment they took shape in words, they were tainted with love – self-love, love of this or that disjoint from the target, love of abstracts – of humbling enemies or avenging wounds in themselves, for their own sake, and other such philippic machinations. In itself, hatred is wordless. Hatred is hatred precisely because it is wordless. Anyone who's ever met someone they truly despised will – in that moment – understand this. Be it anywhere, be it any time. The captured soldier to his torturer; the last living witness to the killer across the courtroom floor. To look – think – upon another with that absolute rejection, that absolute abhorrence, that absolute will to negate...there are no words for that. A scream, maybe, but even that I doubt. Hatred is the action of pure spirit. Nothing material could convey it properly.

    So the difference is clear. The difference is manifest. Love is about communication – is communication itself. Crossing the abyss between two indivisible selves. The import/export market between self and other, mediated – as it cannot be otherwise – by language. Language endless, language infinite. Language to commune between souls. Signifier to beget signified. The inward experience of love is thus indistinguishable from the stories we narrate to ourselves about that feeling after the fact. The inward experience of hatred is entirely distinct from such narration, because hatred qua hatred, in the moment of hatred, has no story to it at all. No reason or rhyme. Hatred is the antithesis of communication. The antithesis of language. The drive to obliterate the other in every trace. To abject, to purge the self of all trace of the other. With no desire to understand, nor to be understood. To drown the other's words – their language, their communication, and at heart the other themselves – in the abyss between you; to burn them to ashes, the ashes to dust, the dust to atoms, the atoms to pure nothingness, entirely removed from thought, from sight, from the universe. Love and hatred aren't two sides to the same coin. They're not even the same currency.

    The moment I recognised Freckles, I really did hate her. It was beyond words. Someone else might have been provoked to violence by the sight of her. That I restrained myself – that I was able to restrain myself – poses something of a puzzle. The capability gap between us beggars belief. The old saying is in need of an amendment; it's not just a magus who walks with death, but everyone in their immediate vicinity as well. And there's no-one more acquainted than yours truly with the finite-albeit-large number of possible failure modes of the human body. Oh, I could have hurt her in a thousand different ways before she left the room. I could have killed her in a hundred. I could have done it flawlessly, leaving no evidence, in ten. Had I been less charitable still, I might have even given her the time to feel it.

    I could have bloodied that pretty face of yours-

    But I didn't do that, did I?

    Hatred! Hatred is...wordless, yes, but might it also be actionless? It seems to me that any kind of lashing-out, violence driven by hatred, is tempered – conditioned – delineated by a kind of impotence. A fundamental inequality. Every slap, punch, hit (What lovely, crunchy, utilitarian words these are! Physical violence, another area where language falters. It is the faltering itself, rather; we break people's noses when – because – we have nothing to say.) is made and is concordant with an acute sense of failure, be it conscious or unconscious. You might say that that sense of failure is what drives the impulse to violence, not the hatred itself. The violence we can effect is really a worthless, paltry, absurd little thing – or it seems to be – next to the towering sense of abomination we feel inside. There's a lust nothing could ever satisfy. No catharsis that can stand up to hatred. And we know it, and hate all the more.

    Is that why I stood there and let her go?

    Because there was nothing I could have possibly done to her, nothing that could have recouped the loss she inflicted through her sheer presence?

    Is that why?

    * * * *

    After a while, I left. Replaced my glasses and made for the exit. Trotted off to the stairwell and descended with purposeful steps did I. Passing through a door, I found myself back in the photo exhibition I'd seen on the way up. The first gallery. Black-and-white shots adorned the walls. No surprises, of course. There's a template to these things. You could churn them out on an assembly line; had Warhol survived my high-school years, he'd probably be doing just that. The human condition in high contrast, cutaway samples of no more than ten to twelve milliseconds each. Fiat stopped clocks and empty streets, plumbing, street signs, weeds, and the deepest depths to ever be fielded. And, of course, indispensably, people standing grimly in front of cameras and looking existential. Can't have human interest without it, don't you know? Relatives being the operative theme, in this instance. Fathers, brothers, grandparents, sons...mothers and daughters.

    “Hm.”

    I noticed her out of the corner of my eye, as if flickering into view when I passed by. All but gave me a start, at first. To my surprise, there was actually someone else there. I thought it might have been Freckles, lingering for whatever reason. Mercifully, it wasn't. She was just a fellow refugee from the heat, presumably resettled in the gallery while I was upstairs. I saw her at first from behind, standing very still before one of the exhibited photographs. A short, slight figure. She was in kimono. First I'd seen for a long time. It was thin cotton, paper-smooth, and irreducibly pink. I felt myself grimace lightly.

    I've never liked pink.

    The kimono was patterned seasonally, illustrated in the traditional style, with the branches of bush cranberries flourishing up from the edge of the skirt. It looked expensive, but not like a recent purchase, I didn't think. The cloth seemed much-worn, edging on worn out in small parts. The obi was indigo-grey and tied profusely at the back, patterned thickly with cicadas taking flight, inky little nodules of wing and carapace rendered by the knowing hand of a master. And above that, a round-curved collar exposed the back of her neck.

    It took me a moment to realise that she was very old. As old as the century, maybe. Her hair was silvered with age, and within her flowing sleeves hung spindly arms that impressed themselves on the outside of the cloth like bones through wasted skin. It was obvious upon second glance, but there was something to her on first appearance that suggested a kind of uncanny vitality. Maybe she'd once been beautiful, and the stain of that beauty had lingered in the kimono while the woman decayed within.

    “Hm,” she repeated, softly, and shuffled along to look at another photo. I don't think she was really paying attention to them. She seemed bored, much as I had been when I arrived. I had paused momentarily, distracted by her appearance in my field of vision. Just as I made to continue my departure, she noticed me.

    “Good day,” she called, without turning around. I glanced over her head. The photograph she was now examining so intently was one of the larger prints. It looked like a frame taken out of a family argument – a real shouting match, by the look of it. A young woman, face contorted in anger, and an older one, looking on the edge of tears. Parent and child.

    “Good day,” I replied, a little distantly. Nothing against the old bird in particular, of course, but I was in a bad mood and halfway inclined to share it. I turned away; found some other corner of the gallery to look at. She wouldn't look at me, I wouldn't look at her. Turnabout, fair play, so forth. My eyes were on the door. I saw her form, as I had Freckles' at first, reflected in the corner of my glasses.

    “You came from upstairs?” Kyoto accent, of course. Another restless native.

    “I did.”

    “Hm,” she said again. She had that particularly arch senior-citizen tone to her: the effortless distribution of superior life experience – in length if nothing else – into passive-aggression and vintage pre-War keigo. Japan has always been good at producing people like that. It's the Confucian entry into our cultural genealogy that makes it so. In a shame society underpinned by an ethic of filial piety, methods to use language in the service of hurting people tend to perfect themselves in the elderly. “You have seen the geisha, then. The statues, I should say. You must have.”

    “Yes.”

    “I saw them not the other day. They are beautifully made. Beautifully.”

    “Hm,” I said, imitating her non-committal tone.

    “They look almost alive, I think. Yes...”

    “If I'm honest, I disagree.”

    “And the artist,” she went on, ignoring me, “perhaps you met her? She was here a moment ago.”

    The tone of her voice betrayed a verbal nod – one of those self-directed nods which indicates that the speaker has no real interest in the content of one's reply.

    “I did.”

    “Such a pretty young thing.”

    “Pretty,” I muttered.

    “I'm sorry?”

    “Always pretty. Never beautiful. That's her.” I took a breath, and a moment to rub the bridge of my nose beneath my glasses. “A hothouse flower.”

    “You think so?”

    “She seems the spoilt type.”

    Quite so. Guaranteeing restaurant reservations in a city like this, on barely a few hours' notice, on Friday night, has, shall we say, certain prerequisites; namely, income of some substance to dispose of. I very much doubted any of it was hers. Art students being just such...actually, there was a thought. Why not let her treat me? Optimise my order to inflict the greatest possible amount of damage to Daddy's chequebook. That could be fun.

    “I look forward to the few years that await us,” the old woman carried on, ignoring my grousing to the opposite wall. “If there might be more works like those; well...”

    “They'll be just as juvenile.”

    “Juvenile,” she repeated. She didn't need a rising inflection for that. An echo required no question mark. For my part, I was beginning to lose my patience.

    “Yes. Juvenile. I do mean it. There is nothing here – in this whole gallery – that is not superficial to the extreme. Technically, I can't fault the statues. They're made with great skill, anyone can see that. But that's a mechanical achievement. There's no substance to them.”

    “Is that so.”

    “It is. Flaubert's Sheba tells us je suis un monde, and to the surprise of no-one we there find the motif of woman-who-is-not-woman-but-world in quadruplicate. It's very cute. But it doesn't go anywhere. Beyond what she learned in Thematics 101 is...what? Nothing. Kawabata references, perhaps. But those demonstrate precisely nothing, aside from the creator's ability to read.”

    Indeed. Not even the ability to do one's own reading, as a matter of fact. I can tell you right now that Freckles didn't have to go very far at all for her inspiration. We read Kawabata at school. Snow Country was on the reading list for Japanese Literature. Top of the page, even. God, she was probably thumbing through the same bloody copy she had in her freshman year when she drew up plans for that statue. I'm sure the musculature of her imagination was strained near to the breaking point. Just hear those tendons creak.

    “Now...now, I knew Kawabata,” she countered, “briefly, just before he passed away...”

    Really, now. What were the odds? Not that it could be ruled out, of course...someone her age, with an interest in the arts, seemingly of means, or at least showing signs of having been at one point...God only knows. Fine. Allow it. Outright lies for the purpose of conversational point-scoring were too unsubtle for her type, and the chronology permitted if nothing else. His suicide was only in...'72, if I recalled correctly. It was shortly after Mishima's, I knew that, though without nearly as much drama.

    “Is that so,” I echoed.

    “Yes, it is, and – you know – I rather think he would have appreciated those statues. The principle of them. They are akin, in spirit. His works and hers. They are not the products of an artistic naturalism...the reek of the real in grit and grime, hm...but they also reject the moralism, and didacticism, that...inflicts on art the duty to instruct – to tie up neatly, with a line or two to tell the audience what they should think and feel. They don't make sentimental homilies for the working class, or the middle class, or the upper class. No. They, rather, have the principle of the geisha to them. Appropriately so, in the case of the statues...well, and with Kawabata's Snow Country, of course. You see? A geisha is a doll-girl, a puppet-girl – a human work of art. She is a theatricalised woman who creates around herself a theatricalised version of life, in which she also lives. Just as a formal garden is so cultivated as to be more natural than nature itself, a geisha is at once paper-thin – transparent in her artifice – yet hewn to an aesthetic ideal that is more real than what is real. So too with Kawabata's stories, and with the statues upstairs. This is why Kawabata's stories rarely end with conclusions outright – and why the statues are, as you say, without substance inside. They're art for art's sake.”

    Doll-girl, puppet-girl...

    I gave a click of the tongue.

    “You say that, but all I see are things that are paper-thin. Look around you. Look at this gallery, these photographs. Paper-thin. Paper-thin, yet nothing. There's no reality here on any level. No creative impulse, except in the very basest sense. What there is, rather, is a certain pattern cluster...no, a certain faculty for pattern-matching that people possess, developed more-or-less unnaturally around what they have learned, what they have been taught, quote High Art unquote to be. These works...they're just mindlessly constructed out of elements that the market deems popular at the moment – which is to say, elements that the general population pattern-matches with High Art on all but a Pavlovian reflex. This is not an art gallery we're in, you know – this is a chain store, and these are commodities. Just like – I might add – the geisha were. For all your vaunted aesthetics, at the end of the day they, and that theatricalised life they ostensibly lived, were commodities as well. Nothing is created in art galleries. They're no less than the logical outcome of culture and the marketplace feeding back on each other. The authorial intent goes as far as the cheque clearing, and no further.”

    The old bird laughed – gently, but in a creaking, knowing way I didn't quite like.

    “Ah; but what would you know? The West has spoilt you.”

    “How did you guess?”

    “You're ill at ease. You carry yourself like a foreigner. You speak like a native, but it sounds like you haven't had to for some time. You've been away for quite a while, haven't you?”

    “...Brilliant, Holmes. Anything else you've managed to deduce?”

    “I have been an attentive observer of people in all their fine detail for far longer than you have been alive...but even then, all I can say beyond that is that you've an acid tongue.”

    “The contradictions of late-stage capitalism put the venom in me.”

    “Do they, now? One wonders if you are for hire.”

    “This I do pro bono. Anyone who charges for art criticism is running a protection racket. Mind you, don't think I'm here to demarcate Entartete Kunst from the good stuff. I've never cared for any of this business.”

    She laughed once more. I came to realise – that is, I came to be aware that I had already realised – that I did not at all like this flamingo crone. I was in the process of trying to elaborate the precise extent to which I did not like her when she suddenly spoke again.

    “I pity you.”

    I gave a derisive grunt.

    “The feeling is mutual. I'm afraid some of us are just born Philistines.”

    “Hm...no, I don't think so. No Philistine you. You recall that kind of fanatic believer who holds all human creation in contempt beneath the artifice of their Creator.”

    “I'm an atheist, actually. But you shouldn't dismiss fanatics out of hand...sometimes there are reasons they believe what they do.”

    “You're an ascetic.”

    “You're on the right track.”

    “Still. Mindlessly constructed, you say...but they are still beautiful. The statues, no? Should it matter if they are merely superficial? They are there,” she said, slowly and with emphasis, “to be seen. It doesn't matter if they're anything in themselves.”

    “That,” I said, exasperation edging in with every passing syllable. “is the only thing that matters. Though I don't expect you to understand.”

    A long pause followed. The A/C hummed overhead.

    Then she gave a soft cluck of the tongue, as if watching a recalcitrant grandchild persist in some strange misapprehension of fact.

    “In that case, I can only say that it's a mystery to me why you are here at all.”

    “It's hot out there, and cool in here.”

    “Ah, yes.”

    “I was just leaving, actually.”

    “Then I must apologise. I have interrupted you. Might you be in a hurry to somewhere?” A beat, just long enough to crack an unseen smile. “Someone?”

    “Oh, yes...I have a date

    “Ah, I had thought as much. Youth, indeed. And how delightful it must be. Apropos, also...for surely you know that Kyoto is famed as a city of lovers, historic and otherwise. I should wish you well. My regards to your fortunate host.”

    The sheer sarcasm contained in that last exchange threatened to level the building.

    “I'm afraid you've already sent them.”

    “Hm,” she said – a different tone to the prior instances, this one a verbal eyebrow raise. She was quick on the draw, this one. “A hothouse flower?”

    “I wonder.”

    “Weather permitting no other, of course.” I got the sense she almost laughed at her own joke there. “Well, I suppose it is 'good day' to you once more, Ms...?”

    The silence drained itself out into the room.

    She wasn't letting up.

    “...Aozaki.”

    “A pleasure, I am sure. I am called Chouanji.”

    “En-chan-tι.”

    I began walking off.

    “Until next time, then,” she called after me, turning her head to the side slightly so that I could see her in profile. Skin like crumpled paper, lined as if by an ink-brush. Dark eyes flickered open, glinting in the light of callow fluorescents. I saw her in the corner of my glasses, saw her fade from sight around a corner as I left the room. She smiled – half-smiled, as I half-saw from my position – like a supercilious cat as she watched me go.

    “Be seeing you.”


    * * * *

    It was almost three-thirty by the time I left the gallery. The A/C deserted me, parting with a treacherous whine as the door shut behind, and I stepped back onto Marutamachi-dori. So there was Kyoto before me; it appeared with company, with a feeling of something slowly dying in every integer unit of space. The corpse of an afternoon had begun to turn rancid around me. Heat radiated off every surface, and humidity slid over the concrete like butter on a heated pan. The sun was still high up. A languid breeze came and went in soundless gasps over the rooftops, shot through with pellets of birdsong and the shapeless whisperings of the city.

    Something had changed. Something in the air, maybe. Like mud disturbed at the bottom of a pond. It was as if the music in the background was different. The projector was still running on this Technicolour Kyoto of mine, but the soundtrack had been swapped out for something else. Music, after all, is the closest art form to our thoughts, for the thoughts that stream and burble through one's head are as they do so too fast and too thick and too multifoliate to put fully into words...really, they're more like a symphony. A hideous cacophony in minor key. Working backwards, one can say that music tints proceedings beneath its sway much as our thoughts do. There was a tone that dissolved in the air, as dull and constant as a the pain of a gangrenous wound. A rising chord of distaste that resounded without a sound. And it deafened me, it was all I could hear. The myriad city-sounds that spun out of Kyoto I registered as all but pure noise, and before them lay only this interweaving tone.

    It felt like being buried alive.

    I walked for a fraction of a block, then came to rest against a wall nearby, out of sight of the gallery's entrance. It didn't matter where I went. It was Kyoto in all directions. The latticed streets, the buildings old and new. The viscous, languid traffic. Pedestrians doing whatever the Friday p.m. bade them.

    “Bitter,” I whispered to myself. Not in reproach. Analysis.

    I thought about the way I'd acted toward that woman. It wasn't a good look. Hadn't been. The sentiments were all mine, true. But usually I'm far better at couching my casual boorishness in terms less plaintive. Not that I cared about what she ended up thinking of me. It was just...

    I pulled my glasses off, and turned them over in my hand. Watched the light glare off their lenses.

    “...that wasn't like me.”

    I put them back on, and saw that the world was tinted. The fact of Freckles' presence had stained it. Stained the afternoon. Tainted everything. A formless unpleasantness everywhere I looked. It was all wrong. All of it.

    I needed a moment. I needed to get back to the hotel and clear my head, that's what I needed.

    The way things were going, I'd have strangled a small child for a cigarette right then and there. When I discovered that I'd left my regulars back in the hotel room, my catharsis threshold elevated substantially. This was a mood for alkaloids, leaving me desirous of alkaloids, and yet circumstances conspired to deny me...damnedest thing was, I felt myself half-seriously contemplating how it might have been her fault. Modernity is to a certain degree dependent on its participants being able to leverage the effects of chemical stimulants on-demand, which is why cold-turkey moments like these awaken unbidden the ancient primate instincts – the habits of our agrarian ancestors, the inclination to slash-and-burn the surrounding area, then dance in circles as the embers rise. A squinting sympathy developed with that crazed acolyte who committed some arson of excellent vintage at the Temple of the Golden Pavilion back in the fifties. The tunnel of torii at Fushimi-Inari, the stage at Kiyomizu, the Heian Shrine, the old palaces and townhouses and red-light districts and riverside walks and forested hillsides – God, on a day like this, you'd need only a spark to cinder the fucking lot. And why not? Let history be history. Burn it all. See if I care.

    I won't describe my return. It was uneventful. It was not so much walking as it was an exercise in ruthlessly-applied path minimisation. My craving didn't go away, but I didn't condescend to buying a pack from a local tobacconist's. I refused, stubbornly, and made good time because of it. Mine was a pace kept by pure spite. Professional walkers at the Olympic level would be left in the dust. At length, I made the crossing to the western bank of the Kamo, and followed the riverside south to my hotel. The marginally more familiar environs there were reassuring, after a fashion. A journey from one air-conditioned cocoon to another it may have been, but some air-conditioned cocoons are, as they say, more equal than others. I enjoy hotels, I enjoyed this one, and I was pleased to note that I continued enjoying it when I returned. There was my room, just as I'd left it, all fresh-laundered linen and cream-coloured upholstery. The world returned to a recognisable order.

    First thing I did, I cranked the room A/C down to somewhere approaching the single-digit Kelvins. Then I took off my glasses and committed myself to about fifteen minutes of very intense pacing and smoking. That is something which really cannot be done without irony in the modern day and especially not in a hotel room, because if you're anywhere halfway civilised you have to disable the fire alarms in the ceiling to pull it off, and that leaves you intolerably self-conscious about the whole business from the word 'go'. Being covered in sweat didn't help either. Smoking of any seriousness is best conducted in some northerly, wintry, permanently-overcast European capital, preferably in black-and-white, preferably under Nazi occupation, where the primary causes of perspiration are evenly split between existential dilemmas and joyless sex narrated in equally joyless French. Not really achievable on my budget, I'm sorry to say. Nevertheless, as my cigarette commenced its long goodbye (its long zăi huai, I should say) and the sweat on my skin began to dissimulate into the cooling air, I walked back and forth in a line, and thought back and forth in circles.

    Six-thirty, she said. Six-thirty.

    I retrieved the note she'd written. Held it up, between thumb and second finger, as one might a soiled napkin. The address had conspicuously failed to become more meaningful since I'd last seen it. The restaurant name was some unspeakable compound phrase containing the characters for 'jade', 'east', 'palace', and 'treasure' in any and every order – the strokes seemed to swim whenever I tried to focus my eyes on them – so it was almost certainly a Chinese restaurant. I tossed the note onto a side-table in muted disgust. Not that I had any grudge to bear against the Middle Kingdom or its cuisine; far from it. I merely considered how much more agreeable I'd find the place if I had the chance to go there alone.

    The reservation was in two and a half hours.

    There was a lot of deliberation there. About whether or not to stand her up, I mean. Could have done it. Might have, even. Who knows which way the scales tipped on every other forking path? I could have voted with my feet. Given it a summary rejection. That would have been the end of everything. It wasn't like we'd exchanged contact details. I could have left her well enough alone. After that...well. Kyoto's a big city. Dense, certainly. Easy to avoid someone. Easier still for me. Besides, I'd be out of the place in a few days, and – with any luck – we'd never see each other again for the rest of our lives.

    Alas, from up here in the present tense, this is all something of a foregone conclusion, isn't it?

    Yes, I did make the promise. But that didn't enter into the final consideration. There was none of that peculiar honour-keeping sometimes found among the truly vicious. No. What there was, in the end, was a singular unwillingness – stubbornness – that disdained the prospect of leaving things as they were. To leave the wound she did me...no, no. No. It would have to be repaid. One way or another. Leaving no prospect of retaliation. Freckles had to be crushed. Once, ever, and always.

    She'd shatter like glass, and I would be myself again.

    I stubbed out my cigarette and stripped off for another shower. A cold one.


    * * * *


    -2-i/The Art of Vivisection in the Age of Thaumaturgical Reproduction

    At the end of it all, memory is fickle. Like a candle burnt down to a stump, it gutters and dies all too often to be called reliable. That which we call memory is usually not remembrance as such, but a kind of reconstruction, a near-term period piece, a historical re-enactment in the theatre of our minds. We work off hurried notes, little details here and there preserved – the texture of a wooden table, the shape of a cloud on the horizon – and from them sketch a storyboard, commission a script on the cheap. Some scenes we can draw better than others, but never with any real completeness. Elisions abound. Elements are lost. Experience, which is chaotic at worst and overly-complicated at best, is simplified to all the narrative complexity of a made-for-TV movie.

    But not so. Not always. There are exceptions.

    This was a few weeks ago, nearing the end of July. Actually, I can do better than that; I can place it exactly. This was the twenty-third of July, 1995. A Sunday. About one o'clock in the morning, Greenwich Mean Time. I was still in London then.

    I am thinking of something very specific. A scene I remember well. A certain indelible image. This is no re-enactment in the third person. I do not see it, in my mind, as a thing that Touko did. Not a scene from a film, not even a still frame of same. First person. I am an 'I' in this memory. I remember it as I saw it. I see it through my eyes.

    I remember.


    * * * *


    Blood in the water, blood at my feet.

    I brushed wet hair from my eyes. Cascading water impressed itself on my back. Its scalding heat induced my skin to the edge of pain at its touch, and then soaked through to my aching joints. Gasps escaped through gritted teeth. The sickly warmth and taste of iron filled the hollow over my tongue; blood fell from my lips as a trickle, and duly joined the rest. I saw the water stream down my chest in rivulets, and watched the blood that had caked onto my skin flake and dissolve into the wash. The water took it wholly, diffusing it, carrying it away like sediment borne off by a current downstream.

    Every speck of colour stood out against the enamel-white of the shower. Haem and protein, gravid with oxygen – the virulent red soon dulled to rotten, rutile brown. Opaque liquid thinned to turbulent smoke, and just as quickly drained away. To nothing. To pure white. It made little whorls and vortices as it streamed around my feet, playful curlicues between my toes.

    I saw my skin made plain again, as the blood was washed away.

    I was very pale.

    And I stood there, in the shower, for a long while. Minutes drained away with the water. Vapour rose from the torrent. A fine mist had settled around me. Beneath its cloying, familiar embrace, I felt my heartbeat – the momentary tautness and shudder of flesh, repeated. Systole, diastole. The blood within, and the blood without. The snaking, shivering voltages that every second licked at the musculature knotted behind my ribs, as if they were strings refracting downward a nervous twitch in the puppeteer's hand. Behind that pulse was silence and warmth. The deadened and amniotic quiet of the womb, beyond the bounds of conscious reminiscence. The flux of flesh and water.

    I thought of nothing, nothing at all. Not a single discernible emotion to stir the silence inside me. The world reduced to a solitary fact.

    The blood was mine.

    The blood was mine, and so was the body.

    Blood in the water, blood at my feet.

    Blood of the mother and daughter.

    Aozaki.

    Touko.


    * * * *


    And within that memory, I remember again.

    A rainy night in London. The lashing storms of autumn outside. The view across a large, circular table, topped with glass.

    My hands clasped on the polished surface, in surgical gloves, powdered white nitrile. A scene lit from above by glaring incandescents, and from below – through the glass of the table – by a colder, mottled light. A sterile chiaroscuro reduced the surroundings to darkness. At first glance – and only at first – you'd mistake this place for an operating theatre. It was, similarly, the simmering halogen lamps, the tidy links of cable and plastic tubing, the scent of disinfectant, the murmuring electronics and stainless-steel wash-ups for stainless-steel instruments. Sideboards busily populated the edges of a windowless room, square in plan. Atop their surfaces, apparatuses named and nameless entertained each other in the shadows. Laminated schematics – sketches of skinless arms and torsos, cutaway views of the heart and brain, the circulatory system decomposed into false-colour sub-elements – illuminated the bare space of the walls like the margins of a monastic Bible.

    There were three items laid out on the table before me.

    My glasses, folded and set aside.

    A portable tape recorder, with a cassette loaded and ready for playback.

    And a straight razor, also folded, with a handle of unblemished ivory.

    I had discovered in London the benefits of keeping notes and memos in audio format. It made them more time-consuming to review, of course, but that was the trade-off for an improvement in clarity. Reconstructing one's past thought processes was a simple matter through the medium of the spoken word. Moreover, it made them secure, by Clock Tower standards. Magnetic tape was an innovation the majority of my colleagues had yet to catch up to.

    I pressed 'play'. Faint crackling emerged from the cassette-player's speakers, followed shortly by a voice.

    “General notes for week ending Sunday, September the twentieth, nineteen-ninety-two.”

    Tinny, clipped electronically, but unquestionably my own. I leaned back in the chair, closed my eyes, and listened.

    “...tch. Where to begin? I hit a snag last last month. Directly approaching the problem of materiality replication was going nowhere. Hadn't been for a while. So, what else to do? Scratch it. Redo from start. I hit the books, and this is where I've gotten. It's a good outcome, all things considered. Put simply, my engagement with Dr. Kilgardie's old research has (a) led to a new line of inquiry, and (b) suggested pertinent modifications to my initial approach. I'm now thinking along two lines. An intersection between them at some point in the future is all but certain, but I'll need to develop things further before I have an idea worth mentioning of where that might be.”

    “I'll now describe both in order. To begin:”

    “Quote. Man is so complicated a machine that it is impossible to get a clear idea of the machine beforehand, and hence impossible to define it. For this reason, all the investigations have been vain, which the greatest philosophers have made ΰ priori, that is to to say, in so far as they use, as it were, the wings of the spirit. Thus, it is only ΰ posteriori or by trying to disentangle the soul from the organs of the body, so to speak, that one can reach the highest probability concerning man's own nature, even though one can not discover with certainty what his nature is. Unquote. ”

    “The original is La Mettrie, L'homme machine. 1748. This passage is quoted in the preface to Dr. Andrew Kilgardie's 1891 monograph Studies in Foetal Pneuma, published for limited circulation by the Faculty of Spiritual Evocation at Clock Tower's northern annexe in Edinburgh. It was never distributed down here in London, which in part explains the relative obscurity of his work; I myself ended up having to go up to Scotland to get hold of a copy. La Mettrie's remark about 'trying to disentangle the soul from the organs of the body' serves as an apt description of Kilgardie's overall interests. In the book, he describes a series of experiments he conducted between 1887 and 1890, in which he attempted a systematic study of the process of initial pneumatic binding.”

    “Initial pneumatic binding is here distinguished as a unique subset of spiritual binding; broadly speaking, the anchoring of spiritual content or energies to a material substrate. This is a well-understood phenomenon in Spiritual Evocation. 'Initial pneumatic binding' – hereafter abbreviated as IPB – refers to the process by which a human soul becomes stably affixed to its material body during the process of foetal development. The dominant school of thought on this in Kilgardie's day, and in the present, holds that qualitative differences between IPB and the conventional model of spiritual binding are minor. This accords to the theory that IPB is induced by the 'spiritually compressive' action of the World during the 'ether-passive' phase of embryogenesis – that's a fairly vague time period, usually considered to be around the second month of gestation.”

    “Kilgardie thought differently; he was of the belief that IPB is, quote, 'of nature fundamentally incompatible' with the conventional model of spiritual binding. In late 1886, he set about designing an experiment to prove it. This involved the use of some of the most advanced spiritual-micrography apparatus of the day – put that in perspective, the ether probes he used were adapted from the type used by Hadden and Stross in their 1880 study of prana flows within Black Forest lichens. Anyway, Kilgardie's experiment involved multiple, parallel, continuous observations of the entire gestation process – uninterrupted measurement of numerous test cases for the full nine months.”

    “He clearly saw this study as the first step toward a new understanding of the process of spiritual inheritance – the biological basis for the passing-down of Magic Circuits from generation to generation. Chances are Kilgardie had a personal stake in the experiments; his line was heavily in decline by the time he was born, and went extinct in 1944. It seems he was the last Kilgardie of any note. This perception – perceived bias, maybe? – may have also contributed to his work's later obscurity.”

    “The experiment commenced with a staggered grouping of test cases. From early 1887 through to mid-1888, living experimental subjects were obtained from the Forth River valley – named localities of origin include Grangemouth, Stirling, Falkirk, and Kincardine. The total count was eighty-eight women of reproductive age; detailed descriptions of each subject are in Appendix III of his book. Once procured, an experimental subject would be anaesthetised and subjected to a radical abdominal hysterectomy – this means the complete removal of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, et cetera – essentially, the entire genital and reproductive apparatus. The subject would be drained of blood during this process. The blood would be used to produce a specialised Pfahnen solution in which the removed uterus – plus change – would be kept alive. This done, the subject's cadaver would then be disposed of.”

    “An example of the complete apparatus used by Dr. Kilgardie is shown in figure 18 on page 110. It resembles a glass tank, cylindrical in shape, approximately seventy-five centimetres tall and about the same in diameter. This tank is filled with clear Pfahnen solution, allowing the full maintenance of biological activity in the removed body parts – the, hm, 'pound of flesh', so to speak – which hang in the middle. The solution's density was carefully controlled to ensure that the free-floating body parts inside would be kept neutrally buoyant. The spiritual content of the body parts was monitored through sixteen ether probes generally spatially contiguous with the uteral volume, linked via piping to analogue monitoring equipment on the outside – fairly crude by our standards, but the best there was at the time. Once stable functioning of all these systems was confirmed, the reproductive apparatus would be artificially inseminated until conception was achieved. From then-”

    “Skip forward,” I said. “One minute.”

    At my interruption, the voice stopped. The cassette whirred obediently for a moment, then – with a click and a hiss – began to play once more.

    “-bilical cord. After birth, the products were also disposed o-”

    “Another minute.”

    “-eresting to me is one of his Winter 1887/8 set. In this Kilgardie went a step further and removed the developing embryo during the so-called 'ether-passive' phase, and replaced it with an embryo-analogue made from ether. This was actually done on five occasions, but on four the results were negative; the original embryo died outside the womb, while the false embryo simply remained inert within. In one case, however, something unique happened. When the true embryo died, the soul traces Kilgardie recorded from it disappeared too – only to instantly reappear in the false embryo-analogue inside the womb. And – this is the important part – with no external prana gradient. One substrate died, and the soul that had been bound to it did not disperse, but rather instantly re-bound to another substrate, with no stressing or spiritual cost like you might find with your usual wraith-binding. That is something that, according to the conventional IPB model, simply cannot happen. Kilgardie's notes conjecture that the World didn't recognise the death of the original embryo, and spiritually compressed the soul back onto the embryo-analogue.”

    “As you can imagine, he found this a momentous result. Trouble was, he was never able to replicate it. He tried it on every subsequent test case through to the final batch of Summer 1888 – when his research funds were beginning to run out – but it never happened again. Rigorous scholar that he was, he was forced to consider it a fluke, an outlier. And with the lukewarm reception his work got on publication, and his relative obscurity since, no-one else has ever replicated it either, or, indeed, even tried to.”

    “Now this, it seems to me, is something worth looking into. Especially considering the possible overlaps with the work I've already been doing on morpho-pneumatics. Having gone over Kilgardie's methodology, I can say that it was good for its time, but there's room for improvement. In particular, the ether probes used in his day were far less advanced than what is available today – it was their limitations that forced him to remove the wombs and study them in-vitro, since spiritual interference from the surrounding body-function couldn't be quietened. That's no longer an issue today. It's only marginally more difficult to keep the donor-subject alive throughout the whole process as well, Pfahnen solution or no. This could very well be repeated with living, intact wombs – in fact, it might be preferable; his isolation of the gestation process from the donor's body-function might have had certain knock-on effects, similar to those found in the appendectomy cases studied by Lev Akanayev in '67.”

    “Of course, I'll need a larger pool of experimental subjects to get anywhere with this. That-”

    “Skip ahead two minutes.”

    I opened my eyes. The light shone down from above.

    “-n the agenda is the reappraisal of my materiality-replication problem. Up to now, what I've been doing – rather, unproductively trying to do – with my research into humanoid puppet-making is the outright substitution of entire sections of a living body with puppet substitutes. For example, I remove a hand from the wrist upwards from one test subject, and affix in its place an artificial substitute. The intention was to iterate this process through to a full prosthetic replacement of a living human body. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of rejection issues with the transplants. The soul includes in itself the root of physical form – this is the basis of morpho-pneumatic studies. The issue, I've recently come to appreciate, is that the puppet substitutes I've been making are too totalising in their makeup. They are attempts to fully recreate the materiality of the original body-function. When affixed to the original body, the soul's natural motion to reassert itself over the material comes to conflict when it meets 'flesh' that, materially, it seems to already be inside, yet is fundamentally necrotic compared to the living flesh adjoining it. So we have all these problems at the boundary.”

    I reached out. In gloved hands, I took up the straight razor. I began to turn it over. Its handle was slender and naturally curved, like the milk-white neck of a kore statue. Long decades of use had polished the ivory as smooth as the glass it had rested on.

    “What's inspired me is one of Kilgardie's earlier works – a report he wrote in 1882, entitled Spiritual Torsion in a Case of Functionally Partitioned Vivisection. Like most of his writing, it never made it out of Edinburgh, but it's very interesting stuff. This was one of his forays into proper morpho-pneumatics. In it, he describes the vivisection under total anaesthetic of a fourteen-year-old male subject – sourced from, ah, Falkirk, I believe – in the December of 1881.”

    Gently, I teased the razor open. Its blade shone flawless in the light, silvered to a mirror sheen. The edge had been honed to a scalpel's thinness. It would cut at the slightest touch.

    “The interesting thing about this is that the operation was carried out with the subject entirely submerged in a large basin of penultimate-phase Pfahnen solution. As the operation went ahead, the subject's blood reacted at a controlled rate to produce a perfected Pfahnen solution. Because of that, biological activity – local and systemic – was sustained even while the subject was disassembled. I say 'disassembled' rather than 'vivisected' because of the second interesting aspect of the operation. They weren't taking cross-sections; this was a 'functional' vivisection. Not individual parts but entire operating subsystems of the living body were partitioned within the solution – the digestive tract, respiratory system, various muscle clusters, major blood vessels, the hemispheres of the brain and so forth. The systems were divided – using a variety of material and spiritual tools, described in detail on pages 16 to 40 – along functional grounds, yet were still operating as a whole due to the integumentary effects of Pfahnen solution.”

    I lifted the razor, superimposing it over my view of the dimness across the table. I held the handle horizontally, the blade's flat surface facing me. I saw my eyes reflected in the steel. Twin gems in the darkness. Unblinking.

    “This was done primarily to assess its sympathetic effect on the soul. The soul contains the roots of the physical form; in a case such as this in which the physical form is substantially distorted, but kept functionally the same, what happens is that a certain 'torsion' develops in the soul and its binding to the material body-function. The bulk of his report consists of a detailed look at the measurements he made of that torsion; I won't go into that here. The really interesting stuff starts happening when he begins destroying certain systems while leaving others intact. What the 'torsion' does is exaggerate the soul's existing function, to assert itself over the material body. It shows that, on a fundamental level, the way that the soul does this is not through a straightforward distribution-over-flesh but rather as a kind of 'compression' that is channelled through certain functional elements of the body. The body-function is something that is 'grown outward' from the systems primarily acted upon by the soul. This effect is barely noticeable while the body is intact, which is why it hasn't been commented upon in the literature – but I have a strong feeling that it's what's been causing the rejection issues. It suggests that I should take a new approach – don't outright try to 'build' a body part, but try to build a part that functionally replicates specific systems in that part, and let the soul make up the difference.”

    I tilted the blade to a forty-five degree angle. The metal now reflected the mottled light shining up from the table below.

    “Beyond that, I think functionally-partitioned vivisection is going to be a key element in progress towards creating a fully prosthetised human body. I'm thinking of a certain kind of procedural experiment – build a basin for Pfahnen solution like Kilgardie did, do a similar operation, but, instead of destroying parts, replace them one-by-one with functionally-equivalent artificial analogues. Let the soul enfold each one in turn. And then – what if it could be reassembled? Then we'd have something truly special. Human soul, artificial body.”

    I looked down at the table-

    “I've already begun assembling the hardware for this in one of my surgical rooms. Kilgardie's blueprints have been a great help, though I've been modernising them where possible. Figure 3 on page 12 gives a depiction of what he was working with by the end: a large, flattened, cylindrical tank for Pfahnen solution – two and a half metres diameter, thirty centimetres depth – made from spiritually-treated glass reinforced with mortar and brass at the corner. It had a lid – also glass – which was used to seal the subject in when not under experimentation. With that on, figure 4 has it looking something like a big glass tableto-”

    “Stop.”

    Click.

    -And the table looked back up at me.

    In the solution below the glass, a single human eye drifted into view. A bloated fish in a reef of dissociated flesh and fluid and bone. I saw it reflected in the blade of the razor. It saw me.

    Its iris dilated-

    “Skip to the end,” I called, closing the razor carefully and setting it back down on the glass, “and record.”

    A mechanical whine emanated from the recorder for a brief moment, and then the cassette was ready. A light flicked on, to indicate it was live. I picked it up and spoke into the microphone.

    “Addendum. Date: October the eleventh, nineteen-ninety-two.” I paused a moment, to perform some brief mental arithmetic. “Initial test case for functional partitioning is complete. Data is still being synthesised. More subjects are needed for a rigorous treatment of these new research goals. Tentatively, fifty at minimum. Women of reproductive age, necessarily for the first, preferably for the second. Check the market as soon as possible. Find whatever's cheap.”


    * * * *


    It didn't hurt me. It never has.

    If you understand only one thing about me, let it be that.

    As I laid face-up on this operating table, near midnight on this, the twenty-second of July, 1995 – as I laid here and looked to one side, to the table next to mine, paired like twins in the womb-

    -as I looked there and saw a woman the very image of myself, eyes shut fast, still and dormant as if only sleeping-

    -I wondered.

    I thought about what it had taken to reach this point. The trail of bodies, the living and the dead.

    And it didn't hurt me. It never has.

    You could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. I have described a rather lovely paper doll around myself. She's a delightful woman. A classical beauty. Charming when necessary, blisteringly intelligent, and never without a bon mot for any situation. Wilful and kind. And, sure enough, you can shake her hand and look her in the eye, and join her at dinner and perhaps even take her to bed – all this you can do and feel in your heart of hearts that she is flesh-of-your-flesh, that the mind behind her spectacled eyes is similar enough to yours for engineering purposes, that a great and common humanity joins you, that what you value is substantiated in what she values also.

    And, to precisely the degree that you would think yourself to be right, you would be wrong.

    I held the razor up; I saw my naked eyes stare back from the flat of the blade.

    What I saw there was a woman with a glint of the Truth in her eye. A glint that got stick there one day, many years ago – as it did for so many Magi. A glint that is but a fraction of the whole, that drives a hunger inside her for the whole of the Truth. A hunger against which nothing can stand. Not fear. Not disgust. Not patience. Not affection. No value or honour or restraint. No law, no principle. No humanity. The hunger for the truth is the silence of atoms and stars, the icy, inhuman song of the void. Where there is the hunger for the Truth, nothing else can be.

    And as for what you may call the pain of others?

    It doesn't hurt me. It never has.

    I held the razor to my throat.

    Through its length, I felt my heartbeat – the momentary tautness and shudder of flesh.

    I thought of nothing, nothing at all. Not a single discernible emotion to stir the silence inside me. The world reduced to a solitary act.

    Will this hurt, I wonder?

    I cut-


    --------------------------------------------------------

    you thought this would be yuri funtime?

    too fuckin' bad
    Last edited by Dullahan; October 10th, 2015 at 04:30 AM.

  12. #32
    I told 'em, I told 'em. Bugrit! eddyak's Avatar
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    gee fuckin' gee
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  13. #33
    Man of Wealth and Taste saintsant's Avatar
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    It's good to be reminded on occasion that, while Touko is witty and pretty (though she'd probably resent having to share the adjective with Freckles), she's also a terrible person. She dodges the villain label solely by dint of hanging out with the protagonist, a girl only a few shades less murderous than Touko herself. She's an awful human being possessed of an awesome conviction, at least once upon a time.

    I wonder how she degenerated, in the end. It's less than a month from July 22nd to the 11th of August, barely the blink of an eye to a magus, but her circumstances have changed significantly. Was her remembered suicide (does it still count if you intend to survive the act?) the catalyst for that? A Sealing Designation might drive her from London, but I can't see it forcing her to abandon the dream all magi seem to share. She tells Faustus she intends to continue her research, but that resolution doesn't seem to have endured into the present.
    Last edited by saintsant; October 1st, 2015 at 08:09 PM.
    “All that I live for is to capture some fragment of this hidden and just unreachable beauty…There is somewhere, my fancy fabulises, a marvelous city of ancient streets and hills and gardens and marble terraces, wherein I once lived happy eternities, and to which I must return if ever I am to have content.” - H. P. Lovecraft, letter, 1927

  14. #34
    I told 'em, I told 'em. Bugrit! eddyak's Avatar
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    I wouldn't think of Touko as the type to perform human experimentation, myself. She's a bad guy, sure, but there are... I dunno, levels? Planes? Venn diagrams? She doesn't seem to belong in the circle of take-people-apart, even for progress.
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  15. #35
    Beats By Matthew ft. Dr. Para Rafflesiac's Avatar
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    The banter was great, as well as Touko's irritation, but the magus experimentation was the real treat. It's rare to see that sort of thing - the magus as a researcher as opposed to a combatant - in a fic, which kept things fresh and engaging.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arashi_Leonhart View Post
    canon finish apo vol 3

  16. #36
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddyak View Post
    She doesn't seem to belong in the circle of take-people-apart, even for progress.
    1998-Touko doesn't. 1992-Touko is the person that Mr. Bargain-Basement-Bhavacakra himself, Souren Araya, found it in himself to respect. This is, among other things, a story of how and why that is the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by saintsant View Post
    She tells Faustus she intends to continue her research, but that resolution doesn't seem to have endured into the present.
    I'll give you a hint. Touko hasn't been honest with us about Dr. Faustus' name, hence the obvious pseudonym. As a matter of fact, she's been outright lying about it in the narration since his first appearance. What makes you think she's any more reliable in conveying her own intentions?
    Last edited by Dullahan; October 1st, 2015 at 09:46 PM.

  17. #37
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Alternative Ice's Avatar
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    That art gallery. It could be it's just what Touko said it was, soulless capitalism at work, but I get the feeling that it's a front for something else.
    Last edited by Alternative Ice; October 1st, 2015 at 11:36 PM.

  18. #38
    Man of Wealth and Taste saintsant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dullahan View Post
    I'll give you a hint. Touko hasn't been honest with us about Dr. Faustus' name, hence the obvious pseudonym. As a matter of fact, she's been outright lying about it in the narration since his first appearance. What makes you think she's any more reliable in conveying her own intentions?
    Interesting. It's obvious that making 'Faustus' regret having ever heard the name of Touko Aozaki gives her no small amount of amusement (the pseudonym alone is pretty, heh, damning evidence of that), so that would give her a motive to lie. Which still doesn't explain how little miss godhead-or-bust became the kind of person who would aimless wander into art galleries for want of anything better to do on a Friday afternoon; I suspect the road to that revelation is paved with gratuitous flashbacks, walls of text, and prose so purple it seeps into the eyes. I, for one, look forward to walking it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint Nick View Post
    It seemed like a possibility. Touko couldn't tsun much harder for Freckles than she is right now.
    I think the whole point of Touko holding forth about the nature of hatred was to point out that she isn't tsundere for Freckles. Which could be a suspiciously specific denial if you've got your shipping goggles buckled on tight, but I kind of think she actually does just happen to hate Freckles and everything she stands for.
    Last edited by saintsant; October 1st, 2015 at 11:27 PM.
    “All that I live for is to capture some fragment of this hidden and just unreachable beauty…There is somewhere, my fancy fabulises, a marvelous city of ancient streets and hills and gardens and marble terraces, wherein I once lived happy eternities, and to which I must return if ever I am to have content.” - H. P. Lovecraft, letter, 1927

  19. #39
    nicht mitmachen Dullahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saintsant View Post
    I think the whole point of Touko holding forth about the nature of hatred was to point out that she isn't tsundere for Freckles. Which could be a suspiciously specific denial if you've got your shipping goggles buckled on tight, but I kind of think she actually does just happen to hate Freckles and everything she stands for.
    if it adds fuel to this fire, Freckles is basically a dead ringer for Ryougi, notwithstanding her preference for Western clothes and eponymous facial feature

    though I don't know how well I communicated that in her one appearance thus far

    ah, well, I'll make it clearer at their dinner scene

    we'll see her in kimono at some point too*

    not that I support the tsun interpretation, I just want to enjoy your reactions when I pull the rug out from underneath you



    *might be a lie
    Last edited by Dullahan; October 1st, 2015 at 11:58 PM.

  20. #40
    Who stole my donuts!? Leo Novum's Avatar
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    I actually enjoyed the conversation in the art gallery more than the tape recorder, even though I did't understand a single word of either piece.
    If I'm an unknown being, then the way I can change is unknown, too…
    So all I have to do… is make them not-unknown.
    - Teddie, Perona 4

    Spoiler:

    Say what again, I dare you!

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